Jan. 31, 2005
FAIRFIELD, CT - A pair of freshmen led the Sacred Heart University men's basketball team to its biggest win of the 2004-05 season Monday night. Freshman forward Ryon Howard (Bronx, NY) hit the only Pioneer three of the game with 1:11 left to give his team a 42-41 lead, and freshman guard Eugene Pettway (Bridgeport, CT) iced it with a pair of free throws with :17 left to give the Pioneers a 44-41 win over first-place Monmouth University in a Northeast Conference tussle.
Sacred Heart, now 3-15 overall and 2-7 in the NEC, jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead on layups by sophomore Joey Henley and junior Mike Parker. Monmouth tied the score at 4-4 five minutes into the game on a layup by Blake Hamilton.
The two teams jockeyed back and forth for awhile until the Pioneers opened up another four-point lead at 17-13 with 3:31 left in the half on a Howard layup. Monmouth again tied the score when Troy Hamlett converted a layup to make it 17-17 with 2:37 left. The Pioneers took a 21-19 lead into the locker room at half after a steal and dunk by sophomore guard Jarrid Frye (Queens, NY). Frye finished the game with his first career double-double with ten points and ten rebounds to go along with four steals.
The second half started poorly for the Pioneers. They committed 12 turnovers in the first 9:30 of the half, and Monmouth, that had been just one of 17 from three-point range, nailed four of five treys to take a 33-25 lead with 13:29 to play. Dejan Delic, who finished with a game-high 14 points for the Hawks, nailed three of them in a span of 2:30.
The Pioneers committed just two more turnovers the remainder of the game and slowly chipped away at the Monmouth lead. A Pettway dunk off a Frye steal had the Pioneers with two at 35-33 with 8:28 to play. A Frye jumper with 5:51 remaining tied the game at 35.
Monmouth, now 8-9 overall and 7-1 in the conference, retook the lead on a pair of free throws by Hamilton with 5:01 left, but a Howard layup at the other end again evened the slate. Two more free throws for the Hawks, this time by Marques Alston his team back up 39-37 with 3:55 to go, but Frye again pulled Sacred Heart even with a layup.
A layup by Hamilton with 2:33 left gave the Hawks their final lead and points of the contest at 41-39. After a missed jumper for the Pioneers, Monmouth coach Dave Calloway called a timeout with the shot clock winding down to set up a play with his club up two and 1:46 on the clock. Out of the timeout, Chris Kenny threw the ball away, setting up the Howard three-pointer off a feed from Parker to give the Pioneers the lead 42-41.
Delic missed a three on Monmouth's next trip, but Hamilton grabbed the rebound and kicked it back out to Delic who missed again. Howard grabbed the rebound and was fouled. It was just the fifth team foul for the Hawks and they fouled Parker twice on in-bounds throws to send him to the line for a one-and-one with :31 left. Parker missed the front end and Hamilton grabbed the rebound with his team still down just one.
Hamilton tried to put his team back up with a short jumper in the lane, but Henley blocked his attempt. Pettway grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Hamilton. The freshman calmly sunk both tries to give his team the three-point bulge.
"I wasn't nervous at all about the free throws," said Pettway. "All through high school, the one thing I could always well was shoot free throws."
The Hawks had one last gasp and Tyler Azzarelli launched a three with :10 left that missed. Hamilton was again there for the rebound and kicked it out again to the junior who missed a second trey. Frye handled the rebound and raced down court to run out the clock.
"Coach (Dave) Bike told us that this league is very even," said Howard. "Just because Monmouth was coming in didn't mean we had to work or practice harder. We have to practice and play this way every day because the teams in this conference are so close."
"This is definitely the greatest win of my career," said Henley. "We had been struggling so much lately but we stayed together and worked hard and came out with the win. We knew we had the talent to do it, we just had to put it all together."